Rise in US border arrests of Indians: Detainees seeking asylum "cite" politico-religious persecution in India

US-Mexico border
By Rajiv Shah
An explosive report by the US newspaper “Los Angles Times” (LAT) has revealed, quoting Federal Bureau of Prisons figures, that of the 680 migrants detained in early August at the federal prison in Victorville, California, a state in south-western US, a whopping 380 were Indian nationals. LAT adds, about 40% of the detainees at Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Imperial Valley facility, also in California, are Indians, and nearly 20% of detainees at ICE Adelanto processing centre, again in California, too, are Indians.
Visiting the Victorville prison, says the report, US Representative Mark Takano was also surprised to find that, of hundreds of immigrants detained there, possibly 40% had traveled from India seeking asylum.
“From fiscal years 2012 to 2017, about 42% of asylum cases from India were rejected, clearinghouse records show”, says the report, adding, “Asylum seekers are not being granted asylum as easily as they were before.”
“So far during the 2018 fiscal year, 4,197 of those arrested by Border Patrol agents have been Indian nationals, according to data from Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse”, the report states.
Number of Indian nationals arrested by US border patrol 
Sarah Parvini, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, reporting this, believes, increase in the number of Indian migrant detainees is the direct result of “an increase in recent years of Indian nationals crossing into the US through Mexico”, though adding, as of today, they represent “a small percentage of those detained overall.”
“Not all of the men spoke English”, report says, adding, Takano was told that they “were supporters of two different political parties and had been persecuted by India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party.” Takano quoted the Indian detainess as saying “they were often bullied into doing things that were immoral… They would have to carry drugs, perpetrate violence against others.”
“Detainees from India have cited an increase in political and religious persecution as their reasons for seeking asylum,” the report says, quoting Sukhwinder (full name not used “for fear of retribution”), an immigrant from Punjab, as an example.
Twenty-year-old, who had spent two months inside the Imperial Valley centre, Sukhwinder tells LAT that he “fled India after being attacked late last year by a group of men who stepped out of their car and asked him why he hadn’t joined the BJP, the party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government. When he told them he did not support their cause, they pummeled him with hockey sticks and threatened to kill him the next time they crossed paths.”
The buffer zone in the 3,144.66 km-long US-Mexico border
“Fearing for his life”, continues the report, “Sukhwinder’s parents sold gold and part of their wheat farm to get him a visa and a ticket to Mexico – in hopes that he could seek asylum in the US. At the end of a five-day journey from Mexico City, he and a handful of other Indian nationals jumped the border wall in Baja California and were arrested by authorities on the US side near Calexico.”
LAT report asserts, “After the first assault by supporters of the governing Hindu nationalist party, Sukhwinder said, police threatened to bring up a false charge against him if he spoke out against that party again”, a treatment noted by a 2018 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, which said, “Mob attacks by extremist Hindu groups affiliated with the ruling BJP against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumors that they sold, bought, or killed cows for beef.”
“Instead of taking prompt legal action against the attackers, police frequently filed complaints against the victims under laws banning cow slaughter”, added HRW.

Comments

mahesh said…

One of yr excellent reports. Should hit the nail on the head of saffronites!

Keep it up!

Mahesh Trivedi
Uma Sheth said…
How far will the saffronites and their henchmen, the police, will go is any body's guess. With national elections approaching, things might get worse.